Paul George reportedly said he he doesn’t want to participate in the dunk contest, but he’s at least leaving the door open, if just a crack.
George, via Scott Agness of Pacers.com (hat tip: Zach Harper of Eye on Basketball):
When asked whether he had declined the offers, George said, “No, I haven’t declined. I’m keeping my options open.”
“It would all depend on who’s in it,” he stated. “I want to be in it when the competition is good.”
In all likelihood, this is George’s way of declining while shifting the blame onto someone else.
The dunk contest doesn’t draw top top stars anymore, and I doubt the type of names George is seeking even consider participating.
It’s been five years since an All-Star starter – which George will certainly be – has participated in the dunk contest. Most recently, Dwight Howard did it in 2009.
It’s even been a while since a veteran All-Star participated in the dunk contest, even someone whose star power doesn’t warrant a starting spot. Blake Griffin did it as a rookie in 2011, and Gerald Wallace came off the bench in the 2010 All-Star game after participating in the dunk contest the night before.
It’d be awesome if George participates in the dunk contest, because that would mean a stacked field. But that all-or-nothing scenario almost certainly means fans will miss out on dunks like this:
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.